You may remember when we helped we helped put together Miles for Miracles, a sponsorship-style fundraiser that will see Andrea running the Philadelphia Marathon. Well, Andrea completed the marathon, and you’re going to be seeing her name more often here and on our Facebook page because she has plenty to say on the subject of prematurity and wants to share! Today, Andrea is going to talk about how the experience of running the marathon was a lot like having an infant in the NICU.
On November 20, 2011 I ran the Philadelphia Marathon, while raising funds for Graham’s Foundation. Although this was my eighth marathon overall, it was my first since having my daughter, a micro-preemie baby.
Prior to pregnancy I was an avid runner, training at a 7:30 minute mile pace. When I got pregnant I was succumb to walking very slowly on a treadmill due to an elevated heart rate. As I began my training back in the summer I kept thinking “1 mile seems like 20 now!” I promised myself that when I decided to run another marathon that I would raise funds for Graham’s Foundation because of the 117 days our preemie daughter spent in the NICU.
It wasn’t easy training for this marathon as my previous ones (a toddler will do that to you), but each long run I ran reminded me of the miracles that happen in the NICU every single day and that kept me moving. As I started adding up my miles on those long runs I started thinking how training for and running a marathon is similar (metaphorically) to having a little one in the NICU.
- There are times when you feel on top of the world only to be faced with the proverbial “wall” 30 seconds later denying yourself that you can complete another step. Some days in the NICU are really good and within minutes can go drastically downhill wondering how you are ever going to get through the experience of having your baby in the NICU.
- Even with streets lined with people (or around your child’s isolette) at times you feel very alone and isolated.
- You just don’t go out and run 26.2miles. It takes a lot of training and education just as there is a lot of training and education that is completed prior to taking your preemie home.
- You must keep yourself in top shape and health in order to reach the finish line just as you must stay healthy for your little one in the NICU.
- The last similarity in having a little one in the NICU and running a marathon?
…the will and desire and fight in your baby that keeps you going mentally, emotionally, and physically.
This was my 8th marathon, and the first since Eliahna was born. I generally pull inspiration along the way from people’s signs they wear on their back for whatever cause or celebration for which they are running.
All I had to do this time was think back at how hard Eliahna has fought since my water breaking at 18 weeks. All the surgeries, blood draws, x-rays, and doctor’s appointments she has had to endure and how inspiring she is and how healthy she is today and that kept me going.
I had various songs on my iPod in her honor as well as for our NICU friends’ kids as well. Hearing each song come on I would think of each child and it gave me a little jump in my step to keep going.